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Maine Development Foundation


Center Theatre goes green

Bangor Daily News - Sheila Grant


June 22nd, 2016

Photo of Skip Dodson from Circle D Spray Foam and Rollin Thurlow, chair of the theater’s facilities committee, examine areas in need of additional insulation.
Photo courtesy of Center Theatre

DOVER-FOXCROFT – Cutting energy costs and protecting the environment while also making patrons more comfortable are the goals of a $100,000 project underway over the past year at Center Theatre, according to Patrick Myers, executive director. In 2014, the theater obtained funding from Grants to Green Maine to conduct an assessment of the heating, cooling, and electrical upgrades necessary to make the theater more energy efficient and comfortable.

“Based on the strength of that audit, we applied for and were awarded a $50,000 implementation grant, and we are in the midst of that work now,” said Myers. The bulk of the work is to address air infiltration and insulation issues. “When the building was constructed back in the 1940s, energy efficiency wasn’t on anyone’s mind, and even 15 years ago when the building was renovated, it was not in the forefront of anyone’s minds. We have a lot of air infiltration and leakage around the building that is costing us thousands of dollars every year in energy costs.”

In 2015, spaces around the lobby and basement of the building were sealed with foam insulation. “We saw a significant improvement in the lobby temperature last winter after that work was done,” said Myers. “I only had to turn my space heater on once or twice.”

Still on the “to-do” list are sealing the spaces around the auditorium, and converting many of the theater’s light fixtures to LED. “We hope to have all of these projects completed by the end of this summer,” said Myers. If enough funding remains, the addition of heat pumps in the auditorium and backstage, and an upgrade in circulator pumps to increase efficiency of existing heating and cooling systems will also be considered.

Grants to Green Maine is a partnership between the Maine Community Foundation and the Maine Downtown Center, which is a program of the Maine Development Foundation. Center Theatre is required to match the $50,000, and has obtained two $10,000 grants, one each from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation and from the Maine Betterment Fund, toward that goal. Steve Wintle, of the Facilities Management Group, conducted the efficiency assessment and, “has been very involved throughout the process,” said Myers.

The Center Theatre is a nonprofit performing arts center dedicated to making the arts a part of life in the Maine Highlands. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the theater reopening its doors to produce affordable entertainment, arts and education, making this project especially timely, said Myers.

“While we are certainly looking forward to energy savings and a financial return on this project, we are also excited to improve the comfort of our facility for our patrons for the next decade of performances and beyond,” Myers said.

For more information on the Theatre or its programming, or to offer support toward the $50,000 match, call the Center Theatre at 564-8943, stop by their 20 East Main Street location between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays, or visit

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